Beyond crypto and fiat lies something more exciting than both
Dear Brett, your valuable ideas deserve a wider discussion in our society. I will grasp your article well and then try to write you some positive feedback. Thank you for this gem of an article, as usual you are brilliant.
"Picture your lungs telling your heart that before it can oxygenate the blood required by the heart’s tissues, it needs energy delivered to its tissues via a pump of the heart". "Credit thinking leads to a vision of money as being a kind of nervous system, rather than a circulatory system".
Some of these explanations are plain beautiful, Brett. Thank you so much.
Holy shit Brett you are my people. I can't tell you how happy I am that you exist and are thinking these thoughts, and are connected to other people who also resonate with what you say here. A friend just sent me the link to this article, and the timing to connect with you is perfect.
Twenty years ago I had an insight built on the mutual-credit understanding of money, and have spent my life pursing and developing it. The credex ecosystem launched on March 21, 2023, and I've just published a book (available in the next few days) on what we've built and why we've built it. It is 100% aligned with everything you have so clearly stated in this article.
The insight I had is one that removes the need for centralized control of balance limits in a mutual credit system by localizing the impact of default to the two parties transacting rather than transferring it to the system as a whole.
If I owe you and you owe me, we're square. In accounting terms I can clear my payable against my receivable and so can you, and we can carry on without money changing hands. The insight, which I have come to call the credex principle, is simply:
If I owe you,
and you owe them,
and they owe me,
The "credloops" formed by this principle can be any length, and any "credex" in these loops can be denominated in anything that has a market price, including currency, with exchange rates updated daily in the current implementation.
Credex is not an alternative currency, credex is an alternative TO currency. That's a technical description from an accountant/economist/entrepreneur perspective. An outstanding credex is a conditional asset and conditional liability pair, stored on a shared ledger that finds and clears credloops between credexes while preserving privacy. We've "disintermediated" or "unbundled" modern money into a series of peer-to-peer relationships based on mutual, verifiable, and auditable trust.
I believe that the most important thing in this article full of gold is that you frame us humans as "Layer 0." That's the key to everything for me. I believe in human sovereignty, and I believe that we can and should design our system of exchange around this principle. We are Layer 0.
I would LOVE to talk. My book will be available in a few days through my author website at ryanlukewatson.com, and I'd be happy to share a link where you can read it in advance. Our software is at a "public beta" stage. It works, but it's far from a smooth user experience. But that's a relatively easy piece to develop now that we have the powerful multi-denominational accounting core and shared ledger.
The book is:
Trust Again: How peer-to-peer trust between sovereign humans changes everything
available in a few days!
I hope we get a chance to connect soon.
This is terrific thinking, and - to me at least - makes all the sense in the world. Blockchain technology just doesn't cut it for the future we need to build.
It's also already been fully implemented in a post -blockchain paradigm, which is Holochain.
Holochain is fully distributed, energy and cost efficient at any scale, and is as secure as Blockchain with fully data sovereignty for the users, and an immune response against bad actors.
It also allows for forking in which the users can take all their private and public data and transactions with them.
Furthermore Holofuel - currently in the form of an ERC-20 token $HOT - is a fully implemented asset-backed, mutual credit crypto currency build with and on Holochain, which will enter Beta in 2H2023.
Voila, loving the zero ❤️.
See for yourself:
And furthermore ...
social intelligence for the distributed web
Congratulations, you are ready to understand the passive monetary system and the power of type A transactions. The science of money that you describe is already formulated and proven:
Good article Brett, I hope the analogies you sketch out it will help people to grasp the basic principles of credit and value exchange. Another articulate monetary theorist who greatly influenced my understanding of money and the exchange process was E. C. Riegel. Spencer MacCallum has the good sense to recognize the value of Riegel's work and made sure that future generations would be able to avail themselves of his brilliant ideas and clear exposition. His works can all be accessed via my website, https://beyondmoney.net/library/. My annotated precis of Riegel's, Flight From Inflation, might be a good place for people to start (http://reinventingmoney.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/precis-flight-tg-rev1.pdf). Thanks again for all your good work on behalf of monetary freedom and a sane world.
This is brilliant Brett. I wish you had a column in The NY Times where you could present/develop these ideas to millions of readers in regular bite-sized nuggets of insight and wisdom. It seems to me that the ideology at the core of neoliberalism is interdependency is a fiction (society doesn’t exist) and developing the understanding that we are locked in interdependency (community does exist and it isn’t ever going away) will be viewed with anathema.
As usual a clear and well argued description of both the monetary system and Bitcoin. As a Bitcoin advocate who isn't interested in hard money delusions I fully agree with your description of it as a commodity as opposed to money.
Yet cannot help but think that what you propose in the last part of this piece, no matter how well intentioned, will forever remain niche and never come close to the impact that Bitcoin or crypto in general has.
Above all appreciate your fight for cash! Been recommending your work to commie friends who passionately hate Bitcoin to convince them cash is essential for a free society.
What is "money" is the key question as it doesn't exist on its own i.e. money is not something that exists independently of humans. For it to function it needs to be defined in a formal logically consistent and commonly ratified fashion, currently and apparently historically that has never taken place. In common usage the notion we are operating on is one that conflates the two mutually exclusive concepts of "measure" and "tradable resource" (commodity) and therefore constitutes a misrepresentation. This misrepresentation is key to the analysis of mainstream money and any alternative people want to implement. From a systems science point of view, it is important to realise that:
a) Any money system that embraces said misrepresentation will necessarily produce an unstable (active) money system precluding that money serve as a legitimate "measure"/record of value, for which a Passive money system in the formal scientific sense of the term is absolutely required.
b) Passive systems cannot function unless they are entirely isolated from any active (stable or unstable) system, which goes a long way to explain why (Passive) mutual credit systems not fully isolated do not survive and have zero impact on the dynamics of the predominate unstable standard.
Therefore, if realistically we want to become free of the current vagaries of the current historical monetary quagmire, without wholly isolating ourselves from society, we need to address the issue of money formally and without delay lest the dynamics of the current erred design fully incapacitate our ability to act.
Brett, i love your insights. You also explain them so well.
Thanks for this refreshing take of crypto-utopism. I've always thought there is something off about it, especially when most of it is about getting rich. I've fallen victim of it, in a way, but also grown weary. Digitizing the idea of Scarcity in a world of Abundance is counterintuitive for me. Your emphasis on the machine, rigid-like "life" of these modalities also show how contrary to Life they are.
I actually believe in a world where money not need to exist; i resonnate especially with the ideas of Gift Economy. In a way, this is a mutual credit system, without a ledger, only faith and love.
I have a sense you and @Charles-Eisenstein would have a lot to talk about.
Also, you might not be familiar with the TRM (Théorie Relative de la Monnaie). In brief, it makes participants issue money daily, based on the quantity of money in circulation (and life esperancy). There has been some implementations, like the June currency, but it seems to lack traction. I like the ideas it builds on, like those of social graph and real life interaction. Maybe you'll find some value in checking it out !
Cheers, eager to read more of you!
Sometimes they try freeze into place elaborate automated methods to artificially replicate dynamism and voice,
...try to freeze
... try freezing
Collaborative Finance (CoFi), sounds a lot like the unis and munis using swap lines coming out of Money on the Left.
Commons Engine began an incubation dojo for those that are laying the foundation for new social and economic systems. I call it a dojo as you have to come in with the idea that you will gain mastery but it will have its challenges. We take projects in the realm of social impact and right now 4 inspired in bioregional resiliency. Its tough to get some of them out of the crypto idealism because they see it as a way to finance themselves and their project and they dont understand the flexibility of mutual credit which can also operate as fiat or asset backed. What you mention as "the big opportunity is to redirect their latent creative energy and technical prowess towards new hybrids" has been true for us for a long time, thus the example of Holo's HOT ERC20 vs HoloFuel our mutual credit. We are trying to stir and what I find is mostly the ignorance is about money and new systems. Both. However, because of the "access" to crypto people like to think it will be easy. I love your articles. I learn so much each time. I believe you are mastering the language and ways to tell story.
Speaking of gold fetishists . . .
It's crucial today to shift peoples minds towards this (perfectly told) other, relation based story of money, thank you Brett.
Brett thank you for your grocked comprehension of value and time.
Ownership of yourself.
Store this value safely.
Use / Exchange this value now or in the future.
“We’re money users, rather than money issuers, and we mostly just transfer money units that were created by big institutions somewhere far away. We never experience ourselves creating money by pushing it out through Issuance, or destroying it by pulling it back in through Redemption. Most of us have never taken a peek behind the curtain to see the Liability Side of Money, and even fewer have experienced what’s it’s like to be active on that side.” By Brett Scott